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Fortified by Prayer (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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July 1, 2022 6:00 am

Fortified by Prayer (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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July 1, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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You've got to worry about, you know, your wife or your fiancé or your mom, your dad, your uncles. You love your family, I understand that. But if you love your family more than Christ, you're not worthy of Christ.

That comes with a high payment. Well, at the first and second coming of Christ, the world's opposition is organized and official and it is pointless. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Book of Acts.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Today, Pastor Rick will continue teaching through the Book of Acts chapter 4 and his message called Fortified Prayer. Isaiah 43, verse 25, I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake and I will not remember your sins. So if you've got this guilt on you, you're doing all the remembering. You're the one, oh, my sins, oh, I denied the Lord three times, oh, I just can't, oh, yeah, you're behind the gate, you're free, the gate is open, but you won't come out, will you? And God says, you got to take the first step. You have to take the first full step. When I learned to walk high iron, high steel, there's two things. I had to take a step and it had to be a full step, not one of those little baby steps. And it was liberating. I was told, when you walk, just take a full step, step out there. And you either step out and make it across or you die.

You'd have nobody to blame. But anyway, God uses saved sinners with their past failures and that's what we're seeing in Peter this morning. Christ died to save sinners, law breakers, breakers of God's law.

We got that. But He rose not only to demonstrate His power to save them, but to use them. And this is why the apostles keep preaching the resurrection everywhere they go and we should too.

It's not outdated. Well, you know, we don't have to preach the resurrection so much because why don't we? You think the world understands it? The resurrection is an ultimatum. You believe He died and got up when He wasn't revived. Lazarus was revived. He was resurrected. He was not the same when He got up. Now we look at the 23rd verse, keeping in mind, this is that Peter who got past his guilt, who is being used by God.

And in verse 23, and being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So this time they're released. They won't always be this way. This time they avoided a beat down. It will not always be this way. Maybe that's the case with you. Maybe you've had a beat down. Well, it might not be that way next time. Maybe you avoided one.

Well, maybe you won't avoid it next time. God is no less God. He is no less gracious.

He's no less good. His word is no less trustworthy. Regardless of what you experience, God is God.

And He's not applying for the job. It's already established. I'm going to cut to the last verse that I want to read this morning because it's appropriate now. The psalm, Psalm 119, celebrating God's word, saying how magnificent God's word is, even though God's word is not a magic wand to take away all our problems. And the psalmist says, trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet your commandments are my delight. I still love your word, God. Trouble and anguish. Pain is in my life. But I still love you and I love your word.

This is the pattern we have from scripture. So these two apostles, Peter and John, are released from jail this time. They don't go straight home. I think I would have gone home. I would have gone home to get something to eat because jail food could not have been good.

And then I would have gone to sleep. Well, showered first because it's the jail, dungeon-like. But they go instead to church, to the assembly. These men were going to fortify themselves through prayer. They were going to get with other believers.

And that's what we're seeing them do. And the Holy Spirit has preserved this record for us to say this is how it can be done. And there they delivered the praise report to the believers. We stood up in front of these guys. Look, the guys at Peter stood up and said, look, whether you're going to obey God or not, we're going to obey God. Peter knew who these guys were. They killed his Lord.

He witnessed this. There was not like, well, you know, these guys, they might be good, they might know. They were evil men. They were masterminds of the crucifixion. And Peter's standing up to them. And they go and they tell, and all of the believers that they're alive in Jerusalem at the time, they knew this. And so they share this amazing victory in spite of the opposition and the threats. Verse 24, so when they heard that, that is the other disciples, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said, Lord, you are God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them.

That Greek word for accord is a compound Greek word. It means that they had a shared passion. They were passionate about this. They didn't just say, wow, that's just wonderful news.

What time's the cafe open? No, they were into this emotionally as well as spiritually, raising their voices together, praising God. And again, they knew what those Christ hating men were capable of. They knew them as the masterminds of the cross, but they stood their ground nonetheless.

That's what we're looking at. Peter does not say, well, okay, look, they don't want us preaching anymore, so we better not do it. He goes the other direction. But to do this, he's got to get with God and he gets with God's people to get with God. Determined to further the gospel, building themselves up in prayer with the assembly and said, this is what they were saying in their prayer, Lord, you are God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them.

Straight to the first verse of the Bible is where they go. In the beginning, God created. God created. From nothing, God created. No one can do that. They boast about creating things in a laboratory.

Yeah, but they're using other created things to do it. None of them are going with uncreated abilities, abilities to create from nothing. That belongs to God. The word of God and prayer, they always go together. Where is that in the Bible? John chapter 15 verse seven. If you abide in me and my word, my words, plural, abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.

If my word is in you, if you're sticking with my word, which has my will within it, when you pray, when you ask, they're inseparable. What characterized these first Christians? Jesus' name, number one.

They're very clear about that. There was nothing, you know, well, I'm a Christian. What does it mean? What does it mean to be a Christian? It means I love Jesus Christ. He's my Lord and my Savior. He died for me. I am a sinner. I should go to hell for breaking his law, but he saved me from that judgment.

He was crucified on my behalf and he rose again. Prayer characterized them. The resurrection, they're preaching the resurrection. Scripture, we're going to come to that. They're all about the word, these people.

What is wrong with them? From hell's perspective, that's what's wrong with them. They're into the word of God. It's not this emotional Christianity. Well, I know the plan of salvation, therefore get out of my face. You can't tell me anything else. That's not enough. God didn't just say, here's my plan of salvation.

You don't need anything more. Over 30,000 chapters in this, verses in the scripture there for us to avail ourselves of. I don't know, it was the last time maybe you've been in the prophet Nahum or Zephaniah or Zechariah and you go back to it. You say, boy, why am I, why did I not, why did I watch that silly show?

I should have been reading this. This is where the, not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord. When Zechariah says that, what about in Zechariah 3, when he says, take those filthy garments off my man, Joshua, and adorn him with clean garments, Satan standing there accusing him that he's this and he's sinned that and he did that. And God said, I've forgiven him.

The Bible, God's word. Anyway, back to this verse here, where they talk about the sovereignty and the creator, the creating of God, not the creating of God, but God's creative ability. They never saw God, anything less than God.

You have to define that to some unbelievers because their definition of God is not matching the scripture. Their God is not always sovereign. Look at the gods of the Greeks and the Romans. They were just humans, sinning human beings on steroids. They had all of this muscle and power, but they were vindictive. They were hateful. They were murderous, liars, sneaks, every sinful attribute the pagan gods had.

Even in India, they have gods that, you know, gods of murder. Well, no Christian has biblical permission to believe the devil made false science of species evolution. You have no permission as a Christian to believe that somehow we have evolved from one species into another. And I would go so far that even as an unbeliever, you have no right to be that dumb.

You just have no right. You're up to something. Scientists that want evolution to be the truth are up to something.

And they tip their hand when they say, well, the theory of evolution, which they've tried to extract from it now. And you say, well, show me the missing link. Well, I can't. Why? It's missing. It never was.

It's not missing. Okay. You know the things about, you know, searching Mars. We found water on Mars. You want to impress me with that? Find a milkshake on Mars.

That would really be impressive. Water's just not, you know, it's just another. Anyway, and it's got to be vanilla. So, verse 25, who by the mouth of your servant, David said, why did the nations rage and the people plot vain things? This is so much here. Of course, Psalm 2 is about the sun being turned on by those of his creation. The use of Psalm chapter 2 in here, particularly verse 1, acknowledges that the world will oppose the plan of God and the Son of God, the Messiah, the anointed one. That's what that Psalm is all about.

And we hear the voices of God, of man, of the Son and the Holy Spirit, all in that one Psalm 2, all in that single Psalm, Psalm 2. Its original context shows the crowning of the Son of God as the ultimate descendant of David. God will end human rule, and the Messiah will rule over the earth with a rod of iron.

This is going to happen. Moses knew it even. And Moses was so far, so many, how many years away from it was Moses, and yet he knew that God rules. And it ends, of course, at Armageddon. At Calvary, the world crucified Christ. But at the end of Armageddon, Christ crushes the world. And so we read in 1 Corinthians that beautiful verse, then comes the end. And it's kind of an abrupt, then comes the end. And right there, it could stop right there.

Just for a moment, I'll pause, and then continue. When he delivers the kingdom of God, the Father, when he puts an end to all rule and all authority and power, he delivers the kingdom. He puts an end to it. It's God's kingdom, and that is the Godhead. And the church, the church is supposed to be militant now. We have an attitude against sin.

Should we do nonchalant about it? All of the death and horror that it causes? The church is supposed to be militant against sin, aggressive against sin. Go into the world, preach Christ to all the creatures.

That doesn't mean the birdies and the mice and things like that. But when Christ comes, the church will be triumphant. And we're going to be there to see that.

You imagine, I was just thinking if I could scalp tickets for it, but that would kind of like disqualify me from being there. Anyway, why did the nations rage and the people plot vain things? Well, they're plotting in their rage directed against Christ. But here's something, this is something very special about this psalm. Down through the centuries, this passage sat silent in the Psalms. The Jews understood it to be a messianic psalm, but that's as far as they could go with that. Even the prophets, it could go no further than that.

It awaited application. No man knew to whom it applied until Jesus of Nazareth shows up in his ministry. And now his followers, they make the connection.

Not until the Holy Spirit told the Christians, who are now telling the world that this is Jesus Christ and the nations rage against him and the people plot vain things, vain because they're not going to work against the Christ. The world hates their maker without a cause. Why do you hate God? Why are you so bitter, misty atheists? And again, I strongly believe all atheists believe in God, but the God of their thinking is the God that they're bitter against. And we're supposed to help them to come out of that by saying, tell me about your God. I mentioned earlier, the world, you know, their definition of God is not biblical usually. And we have to say, listen, our God is not like the God of man-made thoughts. Jesus said this when the Pharisees, he was talking about how the Pharisees were rejecting him and he says, but this happened that the word might be fulfilled, which is written in the law. They hated me without a cause. Go up to somebody, say, why do you hate Christ?

What has he ever done to you? Except maybe make you feel guilty for doing mean things to others or even to yourself. The rabbis called the law, the fence of the law. It protected you. It blocked you from entering into things that would do you harm. This is still true of God's law.

When he prohibits something, he is trying to protect us, but people don't believe it. And because they get away with sin in one lifetime, they think that therefore it is somehow acceptable. Throughout the great tribulation, God will give mankind a chance, even in the midst of the great tribulation to repent, but most will opt out and they will demonstrate their refusal to subject themselves to Christ through blasphemy. Revelation 16, and men were scorched with great heat and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues and they did not repent and give him glory. So they doubled down in their stubbornness.

It was pointless. It was irrational. This is what sin will do. Once it's embraced, Revelation again, chapter 16, verse 21, and great hail fell from heaven upon men, each hailstone about the weight of 75 pounds. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since the plague was exceedingly great, bitter against God, hating him for being God, for exercising his right to be God. He has no right to judge me.

Oh, yes he does. It's a prerogative of God to judge sinners and anybody else he wants to judge. Verse 26 now, we're still talking about Psalm 2, which applies to Jesus Christ and the world's hatred of him, which the apostles were dealing with at this point. Verse 26, the kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers were gathered together against Yahweh and against his Messiah, his anointed Christ in the Greek Messiah for the Hebrew. Anointed in the English. The whole world endorsed Calvary, at least in representation.

Luke chapter 23. An inscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, this is the king of the Jews. Well, the Greeks, they were the ones that gave the Romans really their newfound culture. The Romans took the gods of the Greeks and they renamed them and claimed them as their own. Zeus was now Jupiter, for example, and they greatly admired the Greeks, even though they conquered them. But that was the culture. The Greeks represent the culture. Then, the Latin, which the government, to this day, you go to some courthouses, they've got Latin inscribed on it, and usually it says, I'll translate what most of them say, you think you're going to find justice in here?

That's why they put it in Latin. They don't want you to know what they're up to. Now granted, there are good judges, they really are.

There are about three of them. But they're good judges, but there are a lot of bad ones. And the system is just, you know, sinners just gone wild. Anyhow, of course, then the Hebrew, representing religion without God's Messiah, without the Christ, and that's what the Hebrew religion became. The Judaism that we understand in the scripture and today is the Old Testament without its fulfillment. They've missed it. And we talk about how difficult it would be for someone to come along now and say, I am the Messiah, because you could say, how are you going to prove you're from the tribe of David?

The records are gone. And then if you could prove you're from the tribe of David, how are you going to zero it down to being from the house of David, from the tribe of Judah to the tribe of David? So they've missed it. That is a rationale that you would think alone would stir them to reevaluate. But you know, when you're up against a believer, oftentimes you're up against a network. It's not just one, their belief system, it's their family also, many times, or their culture. If you're witnessing to, or for me, witnessing to Roman Catholics, Irish Roman Catholics, mainly in New York, it was up against a family. They were concerned what their family would think if they became a believer in the Bible and no longer a follower of the Pope and the Magisterium.

And that was a hurdle. And I tell them that. I say, I know you've got, you've got to worry about, you know, your wife, your, or your fiance, or your mom, your dad, your uncles. You love your family. I understand that. But if you love your family more than Christ, you're not worthy of Christ.

And that comes with a high payment. Well, at the first and second coming of Christ, the world's opposition is organized and official, and it is pointless. When he first came at the first coming, it was organized, it was official, and it was pointless.

And that will be the way at Armageddon too, just that he won't stand for it. So the psalmist saw the kingdoms of men opposed to the kingdom of heaven, and he saw their doom. Verse 27, were truly against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together. Man against God. This part here, for truly against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed.

Peter, and well not Peter now, now it's all the believers. This is part of what was going on when they gathered together for prayer and they began to speak the word and praise the Lord. And here's the speaking of the word.

They're quoting scripture because they knew scripture. This holy servant, Paul says, let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. This is the spirit of humility. It's very difficult to be humble. When I say humble, I mean mindful of who you are in the presence of God. When you've got things picking at you, it might be other people, it could be yourself.

Telling yourself, you know, where's that line between, you know, confidence and arrogance and things like that. Well, the believer sorts these things out through the word of God. Paul says, who being in the form of God, and nobody else can that apply to but Christ. You can't say that about Michael the Archangel, who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a willing servant and coming in the likeness of men. See the Greek, in the Greek, the bondservant is really slave.

It's just like that, slave. But the context, the usage of it is connected to the Jewish bond slave because what made a bond slave a bond slave versus just a slave is one was willing and the other was not. One was enslaved and the other was a bond slave and Christ was willing. And so when the Christians hear in verse 27, for truly against your holy servant, this connects him to everything Isaiah was saying about my servant when his holy servant comes, the messianic Psalms. Of course, if they're going to reach the Gentiles, they're going to have to learn to shave some of the Jewish culture down in their presentation. And really none of them could do it well except Paul and Barnabas.

And then the others, of course, you know, would learn from that. But it was just what a task to be raised up in such a strict religious culture and not a condemnation of that culture, but to then reach those outside of it without losing the essential points and being able to dismiss not only the non-essentials, but the detours, the unimportant things. You've been listening to Cross-Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit That's We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross-Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at or simply search for Cross-Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts, right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-28 10:52:18 / 2023-03-28 11:01:43 / 9

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